Winter Olympics | Cool Runnings Ireland
Winter Olympics 2018 | Cool Runnings Ireland
You wake up tomorrow morning, roll out of bed, stumble to the bathroom, groggy-eyed, and splash some cold water on your face in a desperate attempt to wake up before getting ready for work.
You sit down on your toasty bed, pull your socks and underwear on, hop to your feet, slide into your trousers and pull a crisp, freshly pressed shirt on and buttoned it up.
After a quick trip to the mirror to make sure your tie is straight, your collar is clean, you head off to work. Familiar? Another day awaits full of the usual run of the mill tasks and things that have to get done.
Little do you know that a few short hours later that very same crisp, freshly-pressed shirt you pulled on in your bedroom will be slashed open and soaked in warm blood, rushing from a laceration on your hand inflicted during a struggle while trying to disarm a man with a knife.
For most, it reads like a terrifying crime thriller that would send shudders down your spine. An incident you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, but for me, Brendan Doyle, a little over 6 years ago, that’s exactly what happened.
Left with my career, confidence and life ripped apart, and struggling with depression, I turned back to the one thing I knew I could rely on – athletics.
. . . .
As an athlete, I had won multiple 100 meter National Relay Championships, and meddled in Provincial Championships over 60 meters as an individual.
I was scouted for the Irish Bobsleigh & Skeleton Team as a 16-year-old and asked if I fancied pushing a sled, and maybe getting some ice time. I instantly fell in love with the sport and devoted myself to training for it.
“I’ll just throw myself head first down an ice slide”
If you’re not familiar with the sport of Skeleton, it goes a little something like this: Imagine sprinting full speed down an ice track, the same kind that’s used for Bobsleigh races, and then jumping head first down the track onto a metal slider, before hurtling through banked twists and turns at speeds up to 130 km/h.
Steering? That’s done by moving your head and shoulders.
Brakes? You don’t get any of those.
But, I, like hundreds of thousands of others in Ireland suffered at the hands of the Celtic Tiger when funding was cut to the Irish Bobsleigh Skeleton Federation.
Now facing the harsh realities of life as a young 20-something I went off to Templemore to train with An Garda Siochana (Irish Police).
On a late spring day in May, a colleague and I were called to a domestic abuse incident at a house in Dublin.
Arriving to find an aggressive man and a frightened, injured woman, I did what any Garda would do and attempted to apprehend the suspect.
During the incident that ensued I sustained massive injuries to my hand which still leaves me without function in my baby finger and thumb, and a a lifetime of skin grafts and corrective surgery ahead.
I suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder, became an insomniac, ‘surviving’ on two hours of broken sleep a night, and did so from 2009 to 2013.
Anyone who’s participated in sport will know its value as a panacea, a way to control things when everything else is spiraling out of control.
And that’s exactly what I did, training six times per week, monitoring food intake, working with strength and conditioning coaches and a team of experts to fulfill my potential as an athlete.
One day, after tearing my calf so badly during training that I was at risk of losing my foot, I once again overcame adversity to become fitter and stronger than ever.
One thing is for sure – whatever challenge life throws at me, I’ll throw back just as hard.
Where you come in
Until now, I have never faced a challenge I couldn’t overcome. But today I reach out to my fellow sportsman and woman, colleagues, friends and family to support me emotionally and financially in order to compete for our country, to be the first male to bring home an Olympic medal in this field
The sport of skeleton is ferociously expensive; perhaps not by Formula 1 standards, but as an unfunded athlete, with a very real chance of Winter Olympics qualification, the financial burden is crippling.
Faced with what for most would probably feel like an insurmountable battle, I draw on my fighting spirit and refuse to be beaten.
With the Intercontinental Skeleton Championships coming up in Calgary, Canada this year, I need your help.
I desperately need to raise funds for practice time on the ice, travel, and equipment. But there’s no money left in the Irish Sports Council kitty.
The amount I need would be relatively modest for a large company (about €10,000), but right now, as an individual it seems like the straw that could finally break this resilient camel’s back – after I sell my car and anything else I can get my hands on to keep my dream alive.
Simply put – I need your help.
Failing that, you might have contacts in the media, or with an organisation that could take up my plight and put some momentum behind it.
My goal is simple – to be the first ever Irish male to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. I plan to do it at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang. But I can’t do it without our help.
I beat getting stabbed, I beat depression, I’m refusing to let money beat me now and I hope you will too.
Thanks in advance.